Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Is It Ever!!!

Nearly two years after our Initial blog... WOW, Life is short.  Very Short...  TWO YEARS!  OMG.

Well we had a bumpy road the last year...  some major setbacks in health, but we are overcoming that.

4 am, April 19, 2013,  I woke up to a severe pain in my right side.  SEVERE-barely describes it.  When I tried to stand a half hour later... my leg gave out under me.  I thought it must be asleep.. no biggie.. I stayed in bed.  By 5 am,... I still had a bit of pain and couldn't sleep so I crawled out to the living room, as my leg was still " asleep" .  Hmmmm... ....   At 7 am,  I decide it was more than asleep, and woke my husband to go to the hospital.  I did this by crawling back to the bedroom, and waking him up.  Of course, this is the ONLY night HE is getting a good night sleep.  
We arrived at the Nanaimo General Hospital by almost 8 am.  I have to say that I have never had better treatment in a hospital before and was amazed.  By 9 am I had seen the doctor.. a few times...  had two IV's in, and was on my way to a CT scan.   By this time, i had no feeling in my left leg, and no function in my right. A bit frightful to say the least.

The next morning at 6 am, when they still could not find out what was wrong. I was sent to Victoria General Hospital, where a team of Neurologists work.  I had had every test that i knew of... and more... MRI's- not one but two...  CT scan, spinal tap, X-rays, blood work, and more.  Victoria General Hospital has a wonderful team of nurses and doctors who made my 6 days there as pleasant as possible.  they started me on a steroid for 5 days.

Then by day three I could move my toes.... ever so slightly... but I moved it. Seemed like a major accomplishment.  I had one Neurologist come in and say that I may never walk again... he was unsure...   I asked for a different neurologist.  That was not an option- and obviously he didn't know ME.  I have too much to do in life... LIFE IS TOO SHORT!!!  And how am I to teach sailing onboard if i can't walk!! How are Darren and I to live out our dream life onboard a boat, if I can't walk? OMG

So , making a long story short...  I was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis.- a swelling of the spinal cord.  Why???  Not sure.  Dunno.  It could be a few discs i have that just barely touch the spinal cord... in their opinion NOW, a year later.  but nothing concrete.
All in all, I spent almost a week in the hospital, a few weeks in a wheelchair at home, then moved to elbow crutches for a few months, then walking poles.  Now I use a cane only when in big groups of people, cause people don't bump into me, cause I fall over easily.  my balance is not 100% but its improving every day.

What I DO know... is that I have a wonderful support team...  A wonderful husband who cares and shows his love every day, a sister who drove 1200km to be in the hospital with me, and spend a month with us helping to look after ME.... ME, the one who never needs help from anyone...  Ya...  ( i think I've changed that tune) , and a network of friends who are like family to us. I have two great boys who have grown to wonderful men. And I have a team of doctors who really do love their professions.

So, a year later, I am back to Instruction on the boat... albeit, I have wobbly moments...  I can walk about 2 miles, mind you it takes me half an hour,  and I can cycle on my bike about 5 miles...  I still have no deep muscle feeling in the left leg at all, and only partially in the right, I'm not 100%, and may never be,  but I'm 75% physically improved, and emotionally I'm great.  It was a tough road... but with family and friends that are awesome, I couldn't be better.
I know there are other people out there who have been diagnosed with the same thing i have been... and I hope that I can help to inspire them to improve, and never give up.

Now... to the next course....  cause  LIFE IS SHORT!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Winter has come and gone, ... and we are still here!

Out for a race day on Sunday we realized that we are upon a new season!  YEAH!!!  and HOLY  Crap!  Its hard to believe that we got thru a whole winter, again.
So we decided to enjoy one of the final winter races at Schooner Cover Yacht Club on a glorious sunny Sunday in February.

We jumped onboard FLIGHT for  one of " the Hot Rum Series" races, they call it.  --we get a Hot Rum after the race  :)  Flight is a CAL 9.9 all suited up for racing in most of the Vancouver Island races.  She is fast and tender at the helm.  We had a very good start with the 5 other boats in the series.  Our boat Maxim stayed out of the winter races, because, well, she really is a cruiser, although I really WANT her to be a racer.  Try as i might, she is not.
So FLIGHT left the dock with 8 onboard as crew.  Did I mention that she is only 29 feet long?  Yes 8 might seem like a lot for a boat of that size, but with the course of the day and the wind, the sail changes and the sunshine, it worked well.  8 IS NOT too many for a crew on Flight.  Skipper Brian did a great job calling sail changes, course and tactics, the foredeck crew was on their toes, everyone knew their jobs well, and I got to helm most the race.  In case any of you know the area, wind can be light or very strong, so the race has a provision for a short course in case of light wind, a medium race in case of nice wind, and a long course in case of very good wind!  We got to sail the long course as the wind was 10-15 knots, which took us around Amelia Island three times, along with Yeo Island and  the Ruth Island mark.   While we were a bit behind at the middle of the race, we pushed forward; staysail up, then down, spinnaker up then down, a beam reach, and a beat then spinnaker up again,  and down, then just one more rounding of Amelia and we were catching up!!!!!!......Foredeck crew got that colourful sail up one more time so efficiently , and by the end of the race... we had nipped in the front of the pack by a hair, and took the race under a spinnaker finish!  The slowest boat wins again. ( Im thinking this is a theme for us, we always seem to be on the slowest boat, yet come out ahead!)  Its hard to call Flight a slow boat, but compared to the others of the day, it was.

I have to admit that an error in navigation had been made by one of the other skippers,- on the blue boat-  who shall not be named, as his permanent skipper was in Mexico at the time of this race as well as  a couple tangled sails on other boats, and one that couldn't get the spinnaker down.....  Mistakes happen and its all a part of sailing, and learning.

Really sailing, and racing-or winning at racing is just a matter of  who makes the least amount of errors.  A good crew, some knowledge of local waters and a great skipper makes for a great day on the water when racing or cruising.

I'm glad that winter is over, and that days now get longer, and we can get back to the things that we enjoy.

Moral of the story today?  Making errors doesn't make you a looser, it makes you more knowledgeable,   stronger, understanding of your capabilities.  Unless you are racing boats,.. then it makes you the ... um... well.. the  UN-winner.    Life is short.  Enjoy every day.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Whale of a tale

So there we were on our lesson day...  just finishing lunch while hove-to.  For those non Sailors, to "heave-to" is a way of virtually staying in the same spot while your sails are up.  You use your foresail, and main sail against the force of the keel and rudder to maintain position in the water.
My and my three ladies were having an awesome day.  Just enough wind in the morning, and virtually none when it became docking practice time.  Sunshine.  Good people.
What else could you ask for????

Well WHALES of course!!!    At that moment, just when Heather went down to use the head, up pops three Orcas!  Holy amazing..  and close enough we could reach them... well, almost.  a mum and her pups I assume.  but thats not all... while we were revelling in the glory of having whales right beside us, up pops two more off to the Starboard side! .... Then, forward- three more,... but wait... they were headed strait towards us and only about 50 yards off!  down they went! ....  ...  Unsure of where they were coming up, I told the girls to hang on.  They did eventually pop up just aft of us, and carried on their way.
In all I think there were at least 12 of them,  including two males in the distance.  In our area, its rare to see Orcas, and especially that close up.

I had three ladies onboard that day.  One of them has been overcoming a fear of Sailing after a very traumatic experience years ago. She is an awesome student and very eager to learn.  We look forward to having her crew with us on some Wednesday racing.  The Second sailed years ago, kayaks mostly now, but wants to get back to it.  The third was quite new to Sailing and trying to see the value in it.  Even though her husband is an avid sailor, she never took to it very well; fear and not understanding can be large obstacles.   The next day she asked her husband to take her out on their boat and they had a beautiful enjoyable day which included a second spotting of our whale friends.

We are taking that as a sign.  Positive and motivational.  It makes you realize how precious our waters are and how much you need to be aware of your surroundings. You never know what is in your path.
After all,  Life is short.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

New Blog, lets try this out for size

So, life just goes on and on... and we have decided that a Blog might help us realize that life is short.  We best get a move on it.

So here we are in Parksville Canada,  Beautiful little ocean town on Vancouver Island,  paradise of the Island actually.  More retired people in this area of BC than anywhere else in the world, apparently, so you can imagine how traffic flows!!!!!  Coming from Edmonton, ( 4 years now)  I am still adjusting to the pace of driving speed here.    Little to say, yes, it stresses me out..... but maybe i need to chill sometimes and smell the flowers.  And Yes, we have a lot of them here.

So we have gotten ourselves a mid-term boat.  Yes, an ocean cruiser is what is in the plan, again,  but this little gem came upon us and we could not pass it up.  Maxim is a Crown 28  ( a what???##@!!)  yes thats what I said too.  A Crown 28 is built upon the model of a Cal,  she is a steady little tug that just keeps going...  Her 11 hp diesel engine is a tank, and she sails like a charm.  We have started doing some teaching upon her.. and she is great for the ladies courses I teach out of Schooner Cove Marina.  We actually race her too.  Yes, RACE,...  we are being generous here....  Maxim weights just over 6000 lbs, has a cast iron keel, drafts 5'  and has a 258 PHRF rating.  Im sure you can figure it out, we come in last over the line consistently,  but we are consistent.  HOWEVER, we did place second in our home port two day regatta in June.  So racers we are  lol.  After our win again, with Judy and Paul in Swiftsure in our division on Annie,  we have a claim to fame.  :)
Here is a picture of our lovely vessel, this just happens to be right before the fire...

FIRE!!!  yes... long story.. but all is well...  We met friends Judy and Paul, and Norris and Karen in Conover Cove last September, when after a full day sail, the battery was dead again... so we switched batteries underway.  We are efficient in the way that we had taken an extra battery with us on our honeymoon voyage.  (we had experienced battery trouble since we purchased the boat).  So after our champagne and treats celebrating our marriage with Norris and karen, who couldn't make it to our wedding in august,  we retired for the night.  Well we turned the batter switch on, and WOW were the lights ever bright!   So we tidied up a bit,  cause thats what honeymooners do,...  then smelled..  and sniffed... and thought... and sniffed again...  FIRE !!!  RIP THE HATCH COVER OFF,  HOLY CRAP!!!  Fire extinguisher close by, the prudent safety sailors we are...  and got it out.  All was fine...
When mentioned to our friends in the morning they thought something else was up.. they never thought it would be that kind of fire!!!
Anyways,   we fixed it and carried on, no real damage done. We just got to spend the day in Conover Cove!

So thru the winter we went, sailing-  er... racing with the best of them in our club winter race series.  Amazing Grace, Shingebiss, Flight and the like....  completely destroying us all winter...  They are patient though, and always waited for us to finish before starting the next race.  Thanks guys!

Now we are into summer fun series.  Ashely and Phil have taken well to being our crew and besides Phil handling the pole so well...  Ashley has taken the helm a few times.  they are learning and are great students.  Summer series is fun racing.   No one keeps score and when you are race officer you get to decide who wins.
We won last week since I disqualified everyone else.  :)  Yesterday, in no wind,  yes NONE, we actually went backwards, we were the winners again since we were the last boat to quit.  We missed the whales, but we were the last quitters.  And it wasn't even dark  LOL

Darren is getting back into Kayaking.  Something he has missed over the last year or so.  With me not being able to do it, he has focused on Sailing a bit more, and has even taken the boat out on his own once.  He is excited to start coaching again.  I guess when you love something so much,, you should just do it  cause you never know when time is up.

We will be out on a boat again one day soon,  full time I hope.. but first we have to finish this house...  we are close to the end..  The garage and two bathrooms left... phew!!!

Well,  life is short.  I better get back to it. Sail safe, have fun, and enjoy what you have every minute.